Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Poor Frankie

Poor Frankie hasn't been feeling so well. Last week I noticed him sitting in his litter box. I took him out and noticed he had fly strike on his side! I quickly put my skills to work cleaning it out, flushing his side and checking him over. I was not too late! He was given antibiotics as well as something to treat the area. The only thing I could think was I may have accidently clipped him during grooming or he got a scratch while in the outside exercising pen. He has spent a week now in our bathroom which he has thoroughly enjoyed and seen things he cannot unsee! We are not quite sure how his face got like this! He got cleaned up and clipped and is doing great. This is the sweetest boy! 

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Class of 2019 graduate chicks!

Our chicks are growing so fast and becoming so beautiful! We added some new breeds to our flock and they are coming along just fine. This year we had lost a few to failure to survive as well as two being trampled. I was not too pleased about that and learned that placement of the water bottle and a tight corner was the reason. 
Above is a Cuckoo Maran pullet. They look much like a Barred Rock but their pattern is not a continuous barred pattern and it gives them somewhat of a smoky look to them. 

This chick is a stunner! A blue Americana, but I am suspicious this is a rooster, not a hen. I could be wrong but those tail feathers have me thinking!

A Lavender Orpington! These chicks are not only stunning as they give off the appearance of lavender coloring but are a super friendly breed! I believe this one will be a rooster. I bought these as straight runs and it appears this may be the only roo!

This Golden Laced Wyandotte is a pretty little up and coming hen. Their patterns are coming along nicely.

Another rare colored Americana, this one too I believe may be a roo but it's still out for debate.

My only Buff Orpington. I call her "honkie". She has this uncanny honk sound she makes all the time when she gets excited. She's a sweet in your face chick who when I come in, she's all over me and what I am doing.

This sweety is an Olive Egger, yet a very rare blue.

I was so excited when they offered this breed tis year! The gorgeous Welsummer! 

Just look at the color pattern here. This is beautiful bird and I am looking forward to seeing them grow into their beauty!

Our only Speckled Sussex who is in a very awkward stage right now, her speckles are coming in but taking their time!

One last glance of the Lavender Orpingtons. He in foreground and I am thinking roo in front. They are till growing and changing but I am so pleased with theis birds and adding them to our flock!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Apiary Surprises!

A few post back we tried an experiment using a cast off Queen from another hive. Sadly she died in the Queen cage. I prepared for inspections today totally expecting Hive 4 to be drone filled and no Queen. However, to my surprise it was quite the opposite. I first took out this frame and low and behold, two baby bees were emerging from their cells! Above in the picture you can see them emerging and in the top right, bee larvae in the cells!

The next frame was loaded with all different stages of honeybees! I was positively shocked!

And then, I found her! The Queen, unmarked that I quickly trapped in my new Queen cage! I love this new style. It's so easy to get her in there and even easier to mark her. You put it over her, a small door slides under her and the a small lever brings her upward. So much easier than the old conventional markers.

She of course was marked green for 2019 and was not too happy about it! Once she was dried off I released her back into the hive. Mind you I am still in shock by this point...

but what surprised me the most they had all the frames filled with brood, pollen and stored honey, capped! So they got a new box that they were quickly exploring. This hive is extremely docile and calm. Good genetics there!

I inspected the other hives and found that they too are filled to the gills and were in deep need of new boxes. So once again the Apiary leaves me speechless as it was quite the opposite of what I expected. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Making Herbal Iced Tea the easy way!

Do you grow those herbs and just don't know what to do with them? There are so many things and exploring the possibilities is all the fun! You can make a simple herbal iced tea the easy way with just a few steps. In the picture above I have chosen some herbs. Top to bottom are: Apple Mint, Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Spearmint and Kentucky Mint. 

You can use a store bought tea, make a store bought iced tea mix, make sun tea by placing water in a jar with tea bags in the sun, or whatever you choose. In this case I have selected a store bought tea.

Place your washed herbs in the container whole, place the lid back on and put in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This will allow the herbs to seep their wonderful flavors into your tea.

Simply pour into a glass, add a sprig of mint for garnish and your friends will be so impressed by this flavorful tea! Enjoy!!!!

Friday, June 21, 2019

But Mom!!!

"But Mom, he started it" is the look I got from Norman after coming to Winchester's aid after he was being picked on by Norman! I tried very hard to be stern and tell him under no circumstances is it nice to pick on his brother with a straight face!

It's usually Norman who gets picked on by Teddy or Awan so he can't understand why he is in trouble here!

He even moved closer to me as if to say "but mom, no fair"!!! Did I approach this situation with a straight face, of course not! These guys are hysterical and cause me great joy with their antics!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Making soil is easy!

A few months ago we built a new compost bin out of simple pallets. It was free wood and is a great sustainable way to make your own compost and soil! We used 4 pallets, joined them together and the front was lowered to be able to get in and turn the compost. It really is easy, making the commitment to put your kitchen scraps in the compost and not in the garbage, that's future soil you're throwing away!

With all the rabbit poop, hay, food scraps and what have you, it's filling up quickly!

In our old compost that we are now utilizing, we saw an experiment about putting a pair of jeans in the compost to see how fast the worms will eat them. I came across this waist band and noticed the worms had eaten the rest! 

This is the soil from our older compost! Just amazing black gold! I have repotted many pots, replenished my garden beds and every flower got some when it was planted. So much money was saved and it was so easy!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

A Queen Experiment

As I was strolling through my Facebook feed, I noticed my friend Susan had posted that she found this Queen in her bee yard surrounded by about 10 workers. It's suspected as a cast off swarm but it could very well be a mated Queen. Our Hive 4 has been struggling. I noticed they had lost their Queen, I made an attempt to add two frames of eggs and brood but to no avail, they are just a dumb bunch of girls in there! 
I quickly answered my friend that I was looking for a queen and she said I could have her! She offered to rush her over and she did. I gave her a couple of drops of honey which she promptly devoured. She looks healthy, her abdomen is swollen, so she may have just mated.

My friend plugged the hole with a marshmallow so I taped the end and placed a rubber band over it to keep her in there for a few days. In no time the workers came up to see what was going on. This one is cleaning up some of the leftover honey.

Soon many of the bees where coming up to investigate and I am sure they are detecting her pheromones as well.

As I watched, more arrived! We will leave her in the queen cage for a few days. At this point if we were to introduce her, they would kill her. I will revisit in a day or so to see if they are tending to her, fingers crossed!

Friday, May 31, 2019

Marking 10 years of shearing

It was up and at 'em early this morning, shearing at 8:00 a.m. meant we had to get set up, harness up the boys and be prepared. Shearing can go quick if you are organized and ready. The boys and girls knew something was up! The looks on their faces tells you they have been here before! Could it be time for haircuts already?

Autumn watched and made sure no one got out of hand.

Our 2 Angora goats relaxed and let it happen. They got manicures too! We counld't do it without these two guys from Twist of Fate, Rick (left) and Jeremiah (right). They have been our shearers for the past 10 years, always a superior job well done!

The boys did well but of course, but we had a screamer! You would figure after 10 years of  shearing they'd be use to it, but no! So that's a wrap! Now on to getting some fleeces processed and spun!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Chick graduation day

Our first patch of chicks have graduated to the outdoor starter coop! Autumn is checking out her new chargers that she will watch over. 

The girls took to their new home, scratched and pecked around. These breeds are Golden Laced Wyandottes, a single Buff Orphingto and Americanas.

This chick is a Blue Americana. A dream chicken for us.

Another Americana with Blue tints, just beautiful. It`s great to have them as chicks but when they grow so fast, its great to get them out. We have other new breeds that will be heading out soon too!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

In search of the Queen

Since acquiring our bees a few weeks ago, Hive #4 has been struggling. During routine inspections I noted that the Queen was just walking around, no eggs,  no baby bees and the bees didn't seem to be interested in attending to her. To save the hive, which would have perished without a Queen, I borrowed a frame from each of the stronger hives. The frames had eggs and bee larvae. This was done in hope that they would grab a few and create a Queen. If you look at the above picture (which is upside down) that is a queen cell that is capped. Note the little white worm looking things in the cells, those are baby bees under 10 days old.

On this frame there are a couple queen cells and more baby bees!

If you look in the 2 larger cells visible on this frame, especially the one on the left, in there is a baby Queen! So there is  hope for this hive after all! Fingers crossed that they are successful in rearing a Queen!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Solving Life's problems one step at a time

I was in a local department store and I saw it, the beacon, a ray of hope, the solution to one of my biggest issues, sweating in my bee suit. Last year I bought a vented bee suit and that helped but the veil still can be so hot. But then I found this mini fan! 

Today for the first time, I anchored it on a part of the bee suit and it fit perfect! 

I them turned it on, and oh my! I went to work in the bee yard and didn't sweat once! I was in pure heaven! Who knew? A simple $3.00 mini fan could solve one of my biggest issues with keeping my bees!

And while I was toiling away in the bee yard, Tim here was enjoying himself a cocktail! Well I guess we are both happy!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Failure to Thrive

Failure to thrive in chicks can have many under lying causes. The issue can range from nutrition, proper heat, parasite issues, bacterial issues, or a lack of proper organ development. These 2 chicks were the same exact age. The larger one grew, was healthy and thrived. She began to develop feathers. These two chicks were over 2 weeks old here. The smaller one struggled and did not thrive. I had made a decision to cull the smaller one but she passed within an hour of this picture. This is the sad reality of raising chickens. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Flock, ever expanding...

This year and probably our final year, we are adding new breeds to the flock. 

We added some of my dream breeds to the flock and I can't wait to see them grow!

These Golden Wyandottes are just the cutest! 

I made them dig for this Blue Americana! I'm just in love! We also added Buff Orpingtons, Cuckoo Marans, Speckled Sussex, Laced Wyandottes, Welsummers, Olive Easter Eggers, Blue Andalusian and my favorite, Lavender Orpingtons! 

This year we also invested in this chick warmer. It's safe and adjustable. A friend recommended it to me and I just love it. As the chicks grow, it grows with them. I love the dome on it, they can't sit on it and poop all over it!

With 30 new little peeps on board, our brooder is full. My grandfather would be proud, WE are using his old stainless steel tub. It has come into good use.